| Danial Norjidi |
AN experience that you will remember, through flavour and ambience befitting a fine dining establishment – this is what Spaghettini at The Empire Hotel and Country Club wants you to walk away with when you visit them.
The restaurant, located at the sixth floor of the hotel’s main atrium building, has undergone a revamp, with new décor to house a brand new menu, all designed by the mastermind behind the kitchen, Chef Robert.
“I want diners to walk away with a memory, feeling good, fulfilled and full, but not overly full, with a good experience and a memory of flavour; of what things tasted like,” said the chef. “The most important thing is to create a memory for our guests and our diners.”
With a welcoming, warm setting inspired by Italian renaissance, the restaurant offers diners not only a first class menu but also an atmosphere to match, with a view overlooking the main atrium.
To showcase its environment and new menu, Spaghettini recently held a special media preview, in which an 11-course meal was served.
First up was the Anti-Pasto Platter, which plates together grilled marinated eggplant, peppers, wild mushrooms, sweet potato, sun dried tomatoes, kalamate, green olives, basil marinated bocconotti, spice pickled vegetables and grissini.
An appetiser for two, the platter is adorned with light, flavourful vegetables which are accompanied with additions that help enliven the dish in a way that is very palatable and not over powering.
Served next were Oysters on a Half Shell, served on top of rock salt and swimming in apple cider with black pepper mignonette. This is a dish not to be missed by oyster lovers.
The Pumpkin Tortellini was a notable highlight of the preview. Beautifully presented, the tortellini is served with wilted arugula, black trumpet mushrooms and lemon herb emulsion, all of which combines to create what is truly a delicious experience, capped off with a delightful creamy pumpkin sauce.
Following this was Grain Fed Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, served with rocket, truffle oil and sea salt. All the ingredients here accentuate the flavour of the beef, creating a memorable dish.
Crispy Baccala Beignet then took its place on the table. Put together with tomato basil, black olive sauce vierge, shaved fennel and grilled broccoli, the crispy exterior with potato and its tangy accompaniment create a unique flavour.
A memorable dish that proved a hit at the preview was the Truffled Wild Mushroom Cappuccino. The truffled wild mushroom soup is served in a small cappuccino cup along with chervil cream. The black truffle oil in the soup marries well with the soup, accentuating the mushroom flavour, and drinking the soup out of a small cup is quite an experience.
Chicken Agnolotti followed, and was also notable for the way it was presented. Served on a napkin, the dish combines tender chicken with hazelnut oil and grana padano cheese, leaving a lasting impression on the taste buds.
The restaurant manager, Pankaj, explained the presentation, sharing the story of how the dish came to be, where mothers in Italy would wrap chicken agnolotti in their aprons before giving them to their children.
Next up was Farfalle – handmade butterfly pasta with chicken confit, smoked cherry tomatoes and olive oil vinaigrette. This proved to be a very nice and light dish.
The Pan Seared Sea Bass, accompanied by wilted spinach, parsley puree, vine ripe tomato and basil vinaigrette was another one of the standouts. The sea bass had a distinctive taste, with crispy skin and complemented by the puree and tomato.
A Braised Lamb Shank with minted pea ravioli and carrot puree was another of the main courses to take its place in the spotlight. The carrot was deliciously sweet, complementing the tender lamb and ravioli.
Then it was time for dessert: the sumptuous, refreshing Lemon Mascarpone Summer Cake, delec-table Hazelnut Semifreddo and tasty Chocolate Caramel Delice.
Explaining how the menu came to be, Chef Robert highlighted, “What inspired me is the products that I knew were good, that I could get here and that I could work with fresh; focusing on the freshness of the product, and trying to bring Italy into the picture but not overwhelmingly so. Keeping it light is very important.”
If a memorable fine dining experience is what you are looking for, featuring authentic Italian and contemporary Mediterranean cui-sine, Spaghettini is the place for you.